Italian playwright who won 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature / SAT 6-27-20 / Theatergoer's reproof / Miss Beadle of Little House on Prairie / He's waiting in sky in classic David Bowie song / Republic of theocratic setting of Handmaid's Tale / Baker's Joy alternative

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Constructor: Ryan Mccarty

Relative difficulty: Easy (except for SE corner, which destroyed me) (90% done in about 4 minutes ... 3+ minutes to get the rest)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DARIO [space] FO (32D: Italian playwright who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature) —
Dario Luigi Angelo Fo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdaːrjo ˈfɔ]; 24 March 1926 – 13 October 2016) was an Italian actor, playwright, comedian, singer, theatre directorstage designer, songwriter, painter, political campaigner for the Italian left wing and the recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. In his time he was "arguably the most widely performed contemporary playwright in world theatre". Much of his dramatic work depends on improvisation and comprises the recovery of "illegitimate" forms of theatre, such as those performed by giullari (medieval strolling players) and, more famously, the ancient Italian style of commedia dell'arte. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oof. This makes a good contrast to yesterday's puzzle. Yesterday: bouncy fun. Today: easy boringness, followed by grueling proper name fiasco. I remember nothing about this puzzle except DARIOFO (whom I am meeting today for the first time) and almost every answer crossing it. It's so bizarre that you would make / edit a puzzle to come out this way—to have this lone not-well-known proper noun sitting there, when the rest of your grid is so easy, so straightforward. DARIOFO is the sorest of sore thumbs. Literally none of the letters were inferrable. Until I looked him up (after I was done), I didn't even know it was a first *and* a last name. I thought it was just one name, a last name, possibly with an apostrophe in it, like D'ARIOFO! I'm sure he was someone, but wow, nope, no idea. It's entirely possible I've come across his name before, but not in any context where it would've stuck. What is his major work? No idea. Looks like he was a 9/11 Truther, so that's fun. Sigh. A name like that ... look, I don't know lots of names. I have no idea who this EVERETT person is (41A: Betty who sang "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"), but I plunked EVERETT down pretty readily once I had a few of the (consonant) crosses, because EVERETT Is A Name That I Can Recognize As A Name. If DARIOFO had been a single reasonably common Italian last name, I could've done same. But no. D'ARIOFO! So MAGE was MUSE and DOURER was, ugh, DOWNER, maybe (39A: More morose), and YORK was nothing because after ERIE I have no idea about 4-letter Pennsylvania counties (52A: Pennsylvania county or its seat).

I had MUSCLY but kept doubting MUSCLY because nothing else would work (36D: Jacked). Oh, AGENDER I know, but I kept wanting ASEXUAL and ... I just couldn't get any help from the crosses. Could not get the CODE part of HONOR CODE (had ROLL, then ... no idea) (45A: What has a large following on a college campus?). How would the clue writer know how "large" a following an HONOR CODE has. Do most colleges actually have them? I mean, there are rules about cheating. Looks like my university has an "Honesty Code" buried in the University Bulletin under "Academic Policies and Procedures." If you hadn't decided to get all cute and "?"-ish with the clue, maybe, but dumb / off clue = ??? Also, I figure most college students have broken some form of the academic honesty rules at least once, if they're being honest.

"EEK!" has literally nothing to do with "OMG!," so that was rough. You know what an audible "OMG!" is? It's "OMG!" I mean, You Put It In Quotation Marks!!!! That Means Someone's Saying It! Yeesh. Like I said, I don't get why you make your puzzle so lop-sidedly difficult like this. Not like I was gonna remember the rest of the grid anyway, since it was bland (esp. compared to yesterday's gem), but still, this dumb SE corner pretty much ensures that I'm only gonna remember this one little corner. I mean, what else is there? AAACELL?? AAAh no. OSMOSED?? Mosed-efinitely not. BAVERAGE?? I'm thirsty, I'd lack a BAVARAGE, playse! Pffft. Nothing here. I SEE SLOGS. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:09 AM  

This ain't your mother's PPP. It is PPP from hell. (apologies to Richard Lewis)
Okay , so only a couple, but I didn't like them.

Also, this entire solve felt like an exercise in misfiring synapses. The clues were odd for the corresponding answers, which were odd themselves. It was all just so...well, odd.
Or as we say at home: Odd. Odder. Oddest. Oddest of the Odd. Oddness.

HAIRTONIC? Didn't that go out with Route 66, ducktales, and rear-pocket combs?

MUSCLY? Ooooh, he all MUSCLY and handsomey and sh1t!

JASONMRAZ I've heard exactly one song by this person and that was only because Pandora threw it at me while I was driving. Can't even name it, let alone some top 5? (not even #1?) album. I don't even know some top albums of artists I know and like, let alone this guy.

Ah, yes...Shakespeare. O'Neill. DARIOFO? Sure, why not? I'll wear my "culturally-challenged heathen" badge for that one with pride.

DOURER Try saying that 3 times fast! Try saying it at all. Move over, toy boat - there's a new kid in town.

CHAISE OSMOSED Is that a Titanic reference/joke? "The Titanic CHAISEs OSMOSED into the deep, icy sea." Yep. Works for me!

Need to dirty up your street cred, but not sure how? Better ASK SIN!

I could go on, but I'll spare everyone. Too little, too late, but there it is.

I did like NEEDNT (it's fun!) and HATEWATCH (clearly no surprise there), and of course ONESIE.
Plus, I admire the cojones it took to include SLOGS right damn there in the puzzle, like it's daring you to see the resemblance.

Seen and noted, good sir! Seen and noted.


Joaquin 12:13 AM  

DARIO FO is a very close friend of mine so that was a gimme.

No, wait ... I'm thinking of Dave Phillips. He's my good friend. Who the *$%# is FO?

I thought the long downs were praiseworthy and the rest (save for FO) a typical Saturday challenge.

jae 12:15 AM  

Easy and easier than yesterday’s which was pretty easy.

My WOES were EVERETT and DARIO FO (hi @Rex)

JASON MRAZ is from San Diego so that was a helpful gimme. He’s probably best known for the song I’m Yours (not You’res).

Again, too easy, but there was a small smattering of sparkle, so I didn’t HATE it.

Runs with Scissors 12:26 AM  

Oof is right. I enjoy me a solid tusslepuz, but Ho Lee Cow, so much of this just wasn't happening for me.

I got going like gangbusters in the northwest; slogged a big around Virginia/Maryland on BOCA RATON, TITLEDEEED, JASONMRAZ (heard of, but not sticking).

But then there was the southeast. Good gawd that ate my lunch. And dinner. Took me for-flippin'-ever to wade through that section.

Annual Fee as clued was just evil. Fair, but dayum!!!

I don't live anywhere near Pennsylvania, never been there, so if'n it ain't Erie I'm hosed. YORK? If you say so...

Isn't the HONOR CODE less relevant these days? Seems folks are cheating left and right to get in.

DARIO FO coulda been anyone. Never heard of him/her/it, won't retain it.

So, anyway, had fun with it, tussled for a good half hour, got it done. This is why I do puzzles.

Somewhere southwest of our 51st State

Lorelei Lee 1:06 AM  

Lithley, Hair Tonic, AAA Cell, Title Deed, Dourer, Pane, Osmosed, yer

This is probably a great puzzle for people who use words that way and don't just say things like:

She's sort of a lithe dancer.
I get it to stay this way with a little gel.
Can you pick up a pack of triple A's?
HA! Buying Boardwalk, throw me that deed.
She was even more dour than the Rural Juror.
Can we stop at the post office for a sheet of stamps?
I know you didn't study. Did you just hold the book and get it through osmosis?
OK, stop whining. You're out.

Buy I do say things that way so ... soundly defeated by this puzzle. Except for the the NW corner, which I owned.

@Rex, Was it Dariofo that bothered you? You're way dourer than I am (I'll try anything once).

Paul Harrington 1:18 AM  

Filled in Dario Fo immediately. That corner still took me forever.

okanaganer 1:50 AM  

Weird: I agree with Rex on everything he said about the SE corner... DARIO who?, MUSE instead of MAGE, ERIE not YORK, ASEXUAL, DOWNER. HONOR CODE could be HONOR ROLL; the clue still makes no sense.

But I had a very different take on the rest of the puzzle. I loved the big stair-step of long answers! It took me a while to make progress, but once I did, they fell like dominoes. That is a nice solving feeling. Loved STARMAN, tho I remember the movie even more fondly than the song (which is excellent!)...Jeff Bridges with that alien speech cadence. there any other type of marm? Doesn't seem so. Marmalade doesn't count.

Sheep Launcher 2:02 AM  

You live in Binghamton and you don't know the city of York, PA? Really? Are you just being snippy?

Harryp 3:03 AM  

YORK and DARIO fO did me in.

John Child 3:22 AM  

I guess Nobel laureates from a generation ago are fair on Saturday, but the AGENDER here seems to have been to screw solvers.

Anonymous 4:57 AM  

Isn't a 3.0 a CAVERAGE?
1.0-1.99 --> A
2.0-2.99 --> B
3.0-3.99 --> C

Could only think of CORALGABLES with that C in there, but of course it didn't fit.

YER out??? Not helping that corner either.

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

Oops, 1.0=A is the German grading system...been overseas too long. Carry on :)

BarbieBarbie 5:50 AM  

@anon 4:57- no.
The SE caused a big DNF, and not the kind I enjoy. I attended a school with mandatory HONORCODE statements after every exam, and I still didn’t get that one. Bad Saturday for me.

Pete M. 6:40 AM  

Clearly only large people follow the honor code, hence the ‘?’.

ChuckD 6:41 AM  

I don’t know - Rex loved yesterday’s flatness and tears into this one? Just more back up for the argument that he blindly favors certain constructors. I agree the SE here was rough but one corner doesn’t make the puzzle. The rest was at least as fresh and crunchy as RWs offering. SWEET AND SOUR, GAVE A DAMN and SCHOOLMARM are all fantastic and I liked the HATE WATCH/COAST TO COAST crossing. LITHELY is great word and of course ONESIES brings me back to our 6 month old kids years ago - although I think we’ve seen it a few time recently.
Overall an easy - but pleasant Saturday.

Z 6:44 AM  

I hear DARIO PHO likes OKRA in his noodle soup.

30 minutes to finish, 29 of it in the SE (that’s only a mild exaggeration). Does DOUR even have a comparative and superlative state? To me someone is either DOUR or not DOUR. Once you are DOUR you cannot get anymore DOUR. This is purely because DOURER sounds ugly with a capital UGH. Nails on chalkboard ugly sounding.

I’m right with Rex on their being exactly one four letter county in Pennsylvania in Crossworld. Who the &$¥§ clues YORK that way even on a Saturday? You’ve got an entire state, a huge city, a Duke, Shakespeare, a peppermint pattie, an infamous slave trader,... And you go with a Pennsylvania County?!?!?!! Fey.

Embarrassed by how long it took me to come up with HONOR CODE. My small liberal arts college had one. The profs would distribute our exams and leave. That’s right - left. No TAs either. And pretty much nobody cheated because, well, nobody cheated. It. just. wasn’t. done. (Well, it was done and the seven chem students who did were turned in and expelled and there was zero outrage because it. just. wasn’t. done.)

I thought my plaint was going to be “too easy for a Saturday.” Boy, was I wrong.

Lewis 6:45 AM  

I liked:
* The cross of ANNUAL FEE and EEK.
* BAVERAGE and AGENDER, which reminded me of two similar but more common words.
* Mini-theme of six double-E's.
* The poetic NOCA over BOCA.
* What my crosswordized brain did, without any prodding, when it looked for a moment at BOCA RATON. It started firing out crossword answers, all in the order of letters of this answer: BOCA, OCA, CAR, CARA, CARAT, ARA, ARAT, RAT, RAT ON, ATO, TON. All these answers have appeared in the NYT puzzle at least 50 times, some many more.

Solid Saturday, with quick-and-easys and tough-and-tawdrys, slip-sliding and grinding, an enjoyable ride, and thank you for that, Ryan!

QuasiMojo 6:46 AM  

I loved it. My favorite puzzle of the week. I found it moderately challenging, but never boring or unfair. Schoolmate and Hair Tonic were fun. Thank you Ryan McCarty.

BeTheBallDanny\ 6:53 AM  

Funny thing about the Pennsylvania clue is that I live in York, PA but got stuck because I too immediately answered Erie!

Lobster11 6:55 AM  

Well, some days you just get lucky. As it happens, my wife is from YORK county, Pa.; my band used to play a JASONMRAZ song; and I teach at the university that invented the collegiate HONOR CODE, the text of which is posted in every classroom on campus. No such luck with these DARIO EVERETT people, tho....

k 6:56 AM  

someone needs to brush up on their theatre and tone down on trash tv - Dario Fo is a well known figure as a cursory googling will show

GILL I. 6:59 AM  

EEK, ACK, ICK. DR OZ was a regular on Oprah? What happened to Dr. Phil?
Let me list some words I will try to use today with my friends just so they can't stand me: OSMOSED MUSCLY MAGE and some Betty I never heard of. That should make their day.
I've never heard of HATE WATCH so I looked it up. My mind immediately turned to Little House on the Prairie. I think it was on when there were only 3 channels to watch. I always wanted Nellie to accidentally blow up her parents grocery store. I guess if you're called Beadle, then you are a SCHOOL MARM. Moving right along....
Most of this was a hit or miss experience. I hit some but I missed a lot. I guessed mucho. I liked COAST TO COAST and SWEET AND SOUR because I didn't have to think a lot. I wondered about ANNUAL FEE and why it's a deterrent to getting a credit card. Don't they all have them?
Ah, yes....HONOR CODE and the promise to never lie, cheat, or steal. Hmmmm. There goes half the population OSMOSED into oblivion.

Hungry Mother 7:02 AM  

Very uneven, but overall a speedy solve. Wanted erie before YORK, although I lived an hour away for 27 years.

Sgreennyc 7:04 AM  

A humanities professor who’s completely unfamiliar with Dario Fo? Doesn’t say much for what ever college employs Rex.

Rich Fisler 7:31 AM  

Great words in this puzzle - OSMOSED, JACOBIAN, but any mention of DR. OZ is a no-go for me - he's a self serving snake oil salesman bane to humanity.
Aside from that a fun Saturday. Had no idea MAGE was a word

Birchbark 7:35 AM  

This played LITHELY, like a challenging Wednesday. The grid is wide open, even though the NW and SE have just two entry points, because in each case they're fairly easy long answers. So when you enter the new section, you already have several letters to get you going.

@Z (6:44) -- I was going to say the same thing about HONOR CODE (except for the seven students part). Not a bad habit to get into.

amyyanni 7:37 AM  

Today, agree with Rex 100%. Had to look up Dario Fo, and not happy with MUSCLY and MAGE. Otherwise, remaining 3/4 of the puzzle was a fine satisfying Saturday.

Lance 7:37 AM  

I always enjoy your puzzle reviews. Always filled with joy and whimsy and humor. If I ever get one of my puzzles published, I’ll probably skip past rex’s scathing review and just ctrl-f to your opinion.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Oh..,that Southeast was indeed Nasty! I didn’t find this easy. It was medium at least.

Gives a Hoot 7:50 AM  

Was anyone else struck by GAVEADAMN? Not that I mind, but you wouldn't have seen that 10 years ago.

OffTheGrid 8:00 AM  

The air was NIP on that icy January morn.

Nancy 8:08 AM  

Things I didn't know and don't want to know:

*The "We Steal Things" singer-songwriter
*Betty of "The Shoop Shoop Song"
*Miss Beadle of the TV show
*Whoever is "Waiting in the Sky" in that song
*Oprah's regular guest (Actually, I got him -- once I had 3 out of the 4 letters)
*The Monopoly card
*The Italian playwright (who's earned the right to be known, only he isn't!)

And since it's part of my HONOR CODE never to look this junk up, I struggled and suffered and ended up with a DNF. Surprisingly, that wasn't caused by the PPP; it was caused by the perfectly awful MUSCLY and AGENDER.

Would I have felt smart and clever and truly excited to have known all this junk? No -- I would just have felt like someone who knows a lot of junk. I do not understand the attraction of this kind of puzzle. I will never understand the attraction of this kind of puzzle.

Snoble 8:27 AM  

Well, I had no doubt that it is Saturday! Plunking in parts of answers just to see if anything might fit and open up the grid. Finally finished (only because I am hopelessly stubborn) but in the end resorted to "check puzzle" cheat. So what seems like the bigger cheat--the "check" option or Dr Google?

mmorgan 8:28 AM  

No trouble with DARIOFO or anything in the SE. it was the SW that killed me.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

A bit worried this AM, as my solving experience almost exactly duplicated that of OFL, right down to thinking DARIOFO was a one-word last name. Oh oh. And I still don't know what a MAGE is. That "A" in the cross was a shot in the dark, and running the alphabet offered no relief. Eventually I channeled Will Hunting, and accepted the fact that "it's not my fault!". I would rather do this than violate my (and @Nancy's) personal HONORCODE of not looking things up.

Otherwise enjoyed this one, mostly, some pop culture huh?'s to be found, but I expect that.

OK Saturday, RM, for which thanks. One unknown crossing does not a puzzle ruin.

Now let's see what the Saturday Stumper has to offer.

FLAC 8:43 AM  

Good puzzle. Worth it if only to be reminded of Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't" and the wonderful Betty Everett-Jerry Butler duet, "Let It Be Me."

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Good morning. Can someone explain 'Pane" as "Bulk purchase at the post office"? I can't see it. Thanks!

Thank you, Tori

Alas, Poor York 8:57 AM  

Even Hamlet did not know well this....hamlet.

TTrimble 8:58 AM  

Hm, DAY AFTER I get, but AFTER DAY, what's that? Night?

DOURER makes me glower.

DARIO FO: 'k. Only veeeery vaguely familiar, once filled in. MAGE isn't really in my lexicon (although "magus" is). I was thinking "agar" for quite a while before I got OKRA. Yep, SLOGS is how I's waded through that SE.

Why BAVERAGE and not B AVERAGE, Rex?

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

PANE is sheet of stamps

HONOR CODE? hah, surely not in pre-med

Frantic Sloth 9:13 AM  

Hand up for the one-word DARIOFO. It looks more Eye-talian than DARIO FO. Dude should just make it easy on us and change his name. No mo FO.

Petsounds 9:13 AM  

Yes to the misery of DARIOFO and DOURER. Is that Albrecht Dourer you're talking about or is Albrecht just dourer than you? But a time-waster for me happened at 21D, also mentioned by @Offthe Grid. Clue: "Winter air quality." Answer has to be NIP because that's what the crosses say it is. But "nip" isn't an air quality, so I got all hung up thinking that there was some weird spelling play going on--like, NIP ends in P, so it's nip-p...NIPPY, which would have been a good answer. Then spent a while looking for similar things with some of the weirder answers.

Plenty of easy long answers to make up for the stinkers, which also included ACELA, since I no longer live in the northeast and haven't been near an Amtrak train since I don't know when.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Ok, Mr. Obscurity, what the hell does ppp mean?

OffTheGrid 9:34 AM  

@TTrimble. Your post prompted me to look at that again. The key in the clue is "AND" (...before and after...)
So the reference is the phrase "DAY after DAY".

Hartley70 9:37 AM  

There were a number of mental blanks as I solved this, but it still turned out to be one of my fastest Saturday puzzles ever. What gave me a kickstart was SWEETANDSOUR. I got JASONMRAZ off the Z although I couldn’t tell you what kind of music he plays or sings or his age or appearance. He must just float somewhere in my brain.
Questions: Does anyone put a TONIC in HAIR any longer? My grandfather born in 1898 probably did. Oh, and when do I wear a HATEWATCH? Perhaps on a day when I have to get a root canal? I suppose it’s a Twitter thing. I have the app but I’m a reader, not a poster. Raise your hand if you actually knew EVERETT and didn’t need the crosses.
I wish I had known DARIOFO, but alas there’s a big Italian playwright gap in my life.
This puzzle should have been a disaster for me, but instead made me “pleased as punch”, whatever that refers to.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

@Sheep Launcher:
You live in Binghamton and you don't know the city of York, PA? Really? Are you just being snippy?

There's more than 200 empty miles of PA between them. York is nearly in MD.

TTrimble 9:41 AM  

Ooh, ooh, Mr. Kotter! I know! PPP stands for... oh, bloody hell, what was it again [looking it up, ah, here it is] Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. In other words, some bit of trivia that you either know or don't, akin to a "Natick". One of the older-timers will surely weigh in with more.

Don't worry, I had to ask the other day, being a relative noob myself. I'm still puzzling over QB (something to do with SB, which is Spelling Bee, I think).

JC66 9:42 AM  

@Anon 9:27

Since you asked so nicely,

PPP (coined by @Z and used on this blog frequently)

Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns. 25-30% is pretty NYTX typical. More than 33% almost always causes some subset of solvers trouble.

Shoofly Pie 9:49 AM  

I think Sheep Launcher may have meant that Binghamton is on I-81 and if you head south you will eventually see signs veering off for York. So it is not a reach to assume Rex may have seen it.

York Barbell Company was pretty famous back in the day. I think it's still there.

York was also for a short spell the Capital of the United States.

TJS 9:57 AM  

SE is going into my Hall of Fame for most totally bullshit corner ever.

So Rex is sitting around for minutes when he arrives at the SE. Has just about the same problems as I did (except he knew "agender" of course", and was able to sort it all out in"3+ minutes" ? I looked at it for a good 20 using two separate viewings and ended up asking the puzzle for the answers. So, a serious question for you long-time Rexers, has he ever admitted to a DNF or to rage-quitting a puzzle ?
Just realized that "3+ minutes" could mean any number above three.

albatross shell 9:58 AM  

Liked it less than yesterday's. There my only complaint was 1D and 48D did not have TWIN answers. One letter off.

But still liked today. Ugly looking words are still words. Ugly sounding words are still words. Same with people. DOURER is not hard to say 3 times fast. After the first time it's easy. Winner of a Nobel for literature from the late 90's is fair game for a Saturday I would think. Educational, at least. Wah wah.
B AVERAGE I got with no crosses. SCHOOLMARM I got with 2 crosses even though all characters in that book are unknown to me. Just knew there was likely to be a SCHOOLMARM. Nifty answer. NEEDN'T nifty too. My first thought was daresn't, which would be niftier if it fit. Which reminds me, DOUR certainly can take a comparative. Why not?
COASTTOCOAST SWEETANDSOUR GAVEADAMN are not meh. Betty EVERETT is definitely worth remembering. On the other hand ACELA is total unknown to me.

Be safe out there. It ain't over til it's over.

jberg 10:02 AM  

Come on, folks, it’s Saturday. A clue that could be Erie or YORK is just what we’re supposed to expect! Tough but fair. Of course I got it wrong at first, that was the point. A misdirect, generally regarded as praiseworthy I needed all the other crosses to get MUSCLY, whereupon I cried EEK! and changed Erie ro YORK

Now, I do know about DARIO FO, who had a huge influence (in collaboration with his wife, Franca Rame), but I still couldn’t see him—and once I had all the crosses, it took a couple seconds to see that it was him, and not that D’Ariofo guy Rex mentioned.

OTOH—OSMOSED!!!?? Osmosis is not the same as oozing. (I’ll leave that to the chemists to explain.) I held my nose and put it in.

Also, I had DROZ, but that was some celebrity nickname. Never occurred to me that it was DR. OZ. Does that make it a DNF?

Everybody go back and read @Z’s explanation of HONOR CODEs. They’re a very specific thing, not just a set of rules. They’re widely followed on campuses that have them, but few campuses do.

Carola 10:05 AM  

A fast Saturday here. My initial SALT x SHH yielded solid grid branches (HAIR TONIC-->SCHOOLMARM-->TITLE DEED-->SWEET AND SOUR) that allowed me to extend my reach easily out into the last twigs, finishing at YORK and EEK. No doubt it helped to know DARIO FO (I can never get to live theater but love reading about it) and JASON MRAZ (whose name I know only from previous puzzles). I liked the cross of DR. OZ and MR. AZ.

John H 10:07 AM  

100% with Rex, this time. The only good thing about this slog (I agree with @frantic sloth, he's taunting us) was adding "hate watch" to my knowledge base, even though it isn't something I do.

RooMonster 10:09 AM  

Hey All !
DARIO FO was a cheat for me. Don't even know American Nobel-ers, how am I supposed to know French ones? And who really cares who wins Nobels except the actual winners and their families? I guess there are fans of said winners, like people who idolize sports figures or celebrities. So disregard that previous sentence!

Anyway, difficult puz for me, as is typical on a Saturday. Had BAV___ for BAVERAGE and the ole brain not seeing it was B (word) for quite a while. Weird clue on TREADS. Since when is hair called TREADS? Maybe on a car tire...

Still mad at the CAPS for beating the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 Stanley Cup. It was the first year in the NHL for the Golden Knights, and they killed it in the playoffs, made it to the Stanley Cup, and lost 4 games in a row! Ouch. Rotten CAPS.

Never get a Credit Card with an ANNUAL FEE. There are plenty of cards out there with no FEE.

Bought a car once from YORK PA (the actual City) when I was living in CT. So after having erie there like 99.8% of y'all, got the Y of MUSCLY and immediately threw in YORK. I'm originally from Lackawanna County myself if anyone cares. 😋

JACOBEAN, sure... Or JACO BEAN - a new type of legume? Har.

One F (thank you DARIO!)

Z 10:23 AM  

@TTrimble - I believe QB refers to Queen Bee and refers to getting all the approved answers in the spelling bee (or something like that). And, spot on on PPP.

@Petsounds - You probably already know this, but since it took me a nanosecond to understand the clue, too... NIP as in “there is a NIP in the air.” Also, nice etching riff.

@Anon9:04 - What my classmates who went to med school reported was an appalling disinterest in learning anything that wasn’t going to be on the test by classmates who came from other places. At the time my college placed 96% of the pre-med grads in their first choice of med school (i.e. 24 of 25). I don’t know if any of that had anything to do with the school operating under an HONOR CODE but my bias is that the emphasis on learning did.

@Gives A Hoot - I did notice. Sacrilege and scatology bothers me not at all while I will rant at length against even unintended bigotry, so I see this as an improvement. But I will bet that the angry letters and emails are being fired off.

@Birchbark - Class of ‘84 I think. I don’t know if they were permanently expelled or allowed to come back after a quarter or four. All I know is I came back from foreign study to the stories. I’m not sure what their classmates’ consensus was, but my friends were generally wondering how people so smart could do something so stupid.

One thing I will never understand is the tsk tsking over Rex or a member of the commentariat not knowing something. Thinking that someone with a doctorate in medieval literature who is employed as an English professor should necessarily know all the Nobel Laureates, even those who write in a different language, is just gob-smacking to me. Acquiring a doctorate involves knowing more and more about less and less. That’s the way it works.

Lorelei Lee 10:26 AM  

@PetSounds, I forgot to opine against nip. Spot on, thank you.

@Frantic, Har! on MUSCLY and handsomey. Thought the word sounded like a competitor for Mucinex, "Get Muscly, beat snot."

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

@Sgreennyc - my sentiments exactly!

CaptDaveTulsa 10:33 AM  

I like this new cover of the Betty Everett song:

mathgent 10:34 AM  

I called in The Closer for the SE corner. She got ANNA which made me feel good about ANNUALFEE. I read a novel years back titled The Magus. A magus is like a wizard and mage is a synonym, I think. But we were left with one blank, ?AY and ?ARIOFO. We guessed MARIOFO even though MAY didn’t make sense. I Googled MARIOFO and DARIOFO popped up.

So, DNF. But I don’t feel bad because I don‘t respect the puzzle enough. A lot of annoyances. The bogus clue for HONORCODE (What has a large following on a college campus?), unless I’m missing the gag. The clue for PEDAL — so ugly. The clue for HATEWATCH, it’s like it was translated from another language. OSMOSED.

HAIRTONIC reminded me of a product that used to advertise a lot on TV in the fifties, Wildroot. Their slogan was “A little dab’ll do ya.”

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Last time I got stamps, 'standard' stamps come on a ROLL. commemoratives come on a PANE. Guess which sells more? If you're buying in bulk, you're not buying PANEs.

Whatsername 10:43 AM  

A Saturday SLOG from start to finish. Needed major help with The Propers to gets things moving but that really detracts from the enjoyment of the solve. Unlike @Nancy, my HONORCODE does not prohibit look-ups but it’s so much more satisfying to figure it out on your own. I have credit cards but none with an ANNUALFEE which would definitely be a deterrent for me. I have definitely made it a point to HATEWATCH a program like a football game where I’m just hoping to see a team I hate get beat. It also brings to mind the old primetime soaps with some of those dastardly characters you just I just loved to hate.

While I remember the “kiss” song quite well, I could not have even come up with the title of it much less the artist who sang it. But I know I’ll be humming it all day now after watching that marvelous Cher video. OMG that woman could really belt out a song.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can listen to those oldies and recall every single word without even the slightest effort, but I can’t remember what I did yesterday or where I put my glasses five minutes ago. Or why I just got up and went to the kitchen and came back without the slightest idea what I went for. [Sigh]

Swagomatic 10:44 AM  

I never did catch on to BAVERAGE. I just could not parse it. Even after I filled it in, and got the.happy music, I had no idea. Now I get it, though. It's Kool Aid for sheep, right?

TTrimble 10:47 AM  

@OffTheGrid Ah, thanks for explaining. Before and after clues recur frequently, but before *and* after -- probably not so much.

@jberg OSMOSED seems fair to me. has for "osmosis" (scroll down to the end) "The seeping of a fluid through a seemingly solid barrier". I imagine "osmose", as a back-formation from "osmosis", would be a verb that many of a prescriptivist bent *hated* when it first appeared.

Another Anon 10:49 AM  

That's it! You and Sgreen are on my list.

Azzurro 10:54 AM  

I was delighted to see DARIO FO in this puzzle, as he was a personal favorite of mine in college. Plus it allowed me to say, for the first time ever: "Wow, my Italian minor really came in handy today!"

I was surprised to read that Rex had never heard of him. English professors should at least know the Nobel laureates from other languages. Umberto ECO shows up all the time in crosswords, and no one gripes about that.

BAVERAGE, on the other hand, took me forever, and this turned the SW into one of those unpleasant SLOGS that arise now and then.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Their slogan was “A little dab’ll do ya.”

That was/is Brylcream, lube of choice in female houses in Vietnam during the war.

Teedmn 11:00 AM  

COASTing through the NW and with COAST TO COAST and SCHOOLMARM breaking open the center, I was sure this would be a Saturday romp. And then, nothing. Somehow I missed seeing 22D's clue, which was a gimme once I went back there - that might have helped with TITLE or BOCA RATON. As it was, I went down to the SE and had better luck. I know, crazy.

But OKRA and TSAR and YER were all helpful. Then SWEET AND SOUR appeared and I intuited I CAN DO THAT from that T in TSAR (shoulder pat here). After that, the rest of the solve wasn't bad at all even with the groany arena clue at 37D and the weirdness that is "Miss-taken identity" for JANE DOE.

There is a near-octopus of ARMs in that center with stARMan and schoolmARM and zARMnosaj and a couple more boggle style.

Ryan, I always enjoy your tough Saturday puzzles and this was no exception, thanks.

Newboy 11:03 AM  

SLOG for this "culturally-challenged heathen" to borrow @franticsloth’s apt opener. My solve parallels that of @z. Nuff said🤕

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

OK, so it's kind of like someone in Natick knowing about Schoharie, NY 190 mi on I-90.

Petsounds 11:10 AM  

@Z: Yep, I got "nip in the air," but it doesn't work with the clue, which requires an adjective. Air quality is poor or good or smoggy or...NIPPY. I admit, I'm pretty literal about parts of speech matching, and Shortz is not. Also liked your comment about Rex and his Ph.D. and what acquiring a doctorate means.

@Anonymous 10:38: You're right about panes and rolls of stamps. Good catch!

@Whatsername: Me too, about remembering every word, including every "Ohhhh" and "shoop" and "yeah" of the songs of my youth but not being able to recall the name of the movie I watched on Prime last week and really liked. #Oldbrain

egsforbreakfast 11:15 AM  

I felt like I could HATEWATCH this blog forever, but eventually I had to RAGEQUIT. It was a SWEETANDSOUR experience for me. DA RIO FO’ me is the fiume fo’ DARIOFO.

The puz was clued with Saturday difficulty by and large. It seems like a lot of the complaints revolve around it not being clued for a Monday. However, I do thinK that if you need answers like AAACELL and TITLEDEED to make your grid work, you probably need to rework it some.

relicofthe60s 11:26 AM  

That Rex never heard of DARIO FO, a famous playwright and satirist (and Nobel Prize winner), but appears to have had no problem with JASON MRAZ tells you all you need to know.

Lt. Kije 11:28 AM  

My Italian husband was very excited to see DARIOFO in the puzzle. He used to run into him on the train, and got his autograph one time. So a total gimme for us.

Dave S 11:32 AM  

Eek, that was hard for me, even with Dario Fo being a gimme (I was working in bookstores at the time and keeping track of things like Nobel Prize winners. Though even without that, Rex griping about any Nobel Prize winner for literature being too obscure says something about something). Dumb stuff like having agar for the stew thickener and sticking with it for far to long, and thinking Bettye Lavette fit right in, made sure i made a mess of things all through the southern part. Oh, and who knew Frozen (which I've never seen) had so many four letter character names? Kept on alternating Ilsa and Elsa and of course neither of those were right, nor was Olaf, who was the other one I knew for some reason (probably previous puzzles). Pane for a sheet of stamps now sounds like something I knew once, but sure didn't when I needed it. I really liked the 30 down clue when I finally got, which is a good thing since it was a long time coming and at one point I was just ready to accept that Jason Mraz had a twin brother named Jeson and give up. But eventually wrapped things up and found it tough but fair. Not as fun as yesterday, but satisfying to make it through.

Jim Finder 11:39 AM  

I finished the puz, but I didn't know HATE WATCH and stared at it for a long time. That's what the SPLC does ( and it's much more familiar in that context. Don't know why someone would watch a TV show that they hate.

@someone above, the expression referenced at 32A is DAY AFTER DAY.

egsforbreakfast 11:40 AM  

@Mathgent 10:34. A little dab’ll do ya was actually Brylcreem. Wildroot had a jingle that went “When Charlie sees a pretty girl he’d like to wine and dine, he uses a whistle, a wink and Wildroot. It gets her every time”.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

York county has twice the population of Erie county. For God’s sake, US 81 the main road through Binghamton just about clips the NW corner of York county, Pa. Rex has a pretty small world. It’d be sad if he went such a scold.

Tim Aurthur 11:43 AM  

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to DARIO FO caused a bit of a scandal because he wasn't considered a "serious" writer but a farceur in the tradition of the commedia dell'arte. Imagine John Cleese getting a Nobel Prize.

And strikingly, Fo died on the day the literature prize was given to another controversial laureate: Bob Dylan.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Anon 10:38,
I literally just bought a 12 pane sheet of stamps on Wednesday.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Not sure mike sharp is a professor. I think his position is lecturer.

ChuckD 11:59 AM  

@Z - completely agree. The BS -> MS -> PhD process results in more depth than breadth and in my case at least - somewhat underwhelming.

Crimson Devil 12:01 PM  

No JOY here, ‘cept for NEEDNT, PEDAL, and MISSDOE. Way too much ppp outamywheelhouse.
SCHOOLMARM a great word, and we all owe them a bunch. I see BRYLCREME has already been fixed. Never heard of PANE or MAGE, in addition to most ppp.

Ernonymous 12:05 PM  

As I've said I am pretty new to this, less than 5 months so I've been happy when I can do a Friday and Saturday without any look ups. I have been doing really well the past month. I did almost do this entire puzzle but I had the same problems in the southeast with Dario Fo and DOURER.

I didn't know this Italian name and I had DA_IOFO and knowing Italian if this is a last name, the only letter that looks normal there is a "C" because CIOFO is a letter group you would see. I know a guy with his last name is CIOFI. In attempting to figure this out DOU_ER I could not figure out what letter went in there, but Doucer could be a word. Well it's not! An "R" I may not even have tried because that letter combo would be weird in Italian RIOFO. I guess I feel better seeing how a lot of other people had the same problem there. Dammit.

I did read a ton of Pirandello as I actually got my Masters in Italian Literature at SUNY Binghamton, Rex's joint! It was 1985 so I remember NIENTE!

Amelia 12:06 PM  

Yes, @daveS who said "Rex griping about any Nobel Prize winner for literature being too obscure says something about something."

Literature. That's what he teaches. No, I don't expect him to know everything about everything. That gets harder and harder as more world literature becomes available. But Dario Fo is well-known among literate people. (As a number of people here have said.)

I don't even expect him to know his work. I do expect him to know his NAME. Have a vague idea of who he is. I can see not VALUING the Nobel Prize. God knows enough numbnuts have won it and there have been striking omissions. But not noticing it is really outrageous for a member of a literature department at a major university. I assure you that his colleagues are rolling their eyes today at his ignorance. Or his admission. Pick one.

I don't teach literature. I don't teach anything. But I'm alive and I read. Newspapers and books. So while I have never read or seen his plays, "Italian playwright/Nobel Prize" made it a gimme for me. I follow the Nobel news. First thing I wrote in.

That said, I thought the puzzle was hard.

Sally Slink 12:07 PM  

I couldn't tell you anything about Dario Fo's work, but his name is memorable, so I found that easy once a few crosses were in place.

And AGENDER was a nice surprise; I expected the NYTC's use of "non-binary" as a clue to be a feint, but no, this was just a contemporary term clued literally. Good for them. (ASEXUAL people are not "non-binary", so no sympathy points for people who went down a wrong path there.)

Masked and Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Top half was pretty easy. Maybe a few extra nanoseconds burnt in JACO BEAN's honor.
Bottom half got much harder. Didn't know: JASONMRAZ, EVERETT, DARIOFO, AGENDER.
Overall ratin: Semi-feisty.

M&A was very partial to the BAVERAGE entry & its clue. Printed version monkeyed with the clue number, to make it 3.0-D instead of 30-D. With a little arrow pointin to the clue number. Nice raised-by-wolves touch.

Good to see the Jaws back in business. [Editor's note: The Jaws of Themelessness are those blocks combining six black squares into a sort of "stair-step" design. One might say they represent "cheater squares on steroids".]

staff weeject picks: YER & ONS. Combined via cross-reference, they could better be clued as: {Date confirmations??}. Behold, doubters [& Shortzmeister], the undeniable power of the double-questionmark clue. Its time will come. Questionmark my words.

Thanx for the semi-feisty fun, Mr. McCarty dude. Good job, keepin the SCHOOLMARM's ARM outta the margins. 'Preciate it.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 12:23 PM  

You’re dead right about everything save one, very minor point. NY state university at Binghamton is not a major university. It’s a second, maybe third rate school in a fourth rate town.

Mohair Sam 12:24 PM  

Wonderful Saturday puzz.

OMG (EEK) - All of you swole solvers should have enjoyed the crossing of MUSCLY and YORK. As Shoofly Pie pointed out, YORK is the home of the very famous YORK Barbell Company, if you're MUSCLY you've pressed a YORK or two. And yeah - YORK is much bigger than ERIE - I've superhighwayed through both. if you're heading from (say) Binghamton NY to (say) Baltimore your Waze will take you straight thru York (I83 elevated!) - and you'll see the huge Paul Bunyan type figure lifting a YORK barbell right on top of the factory roof. Great stuff.

In defense of Erie - I was driving through there maybe 30 years ago when I heard a local DJ tell his audience that his station played only "Rock and Roll before The Beatles ruined it". Gotta love that.

Jesus! Y'all must have been HATEsolving. How could so many of you degreed types not see HONORCODE as a near gimme? And no Rex, a lot of us didn't cheat in school (well said @Z). Rex postulates that maybe everyone breaks the code, hmmm.

Any Nobelist for literature (DARIO FO) in the past half century is certainly Saturday Crossworthy. If I'm going to learn something in the Times puzzle I'd prefer a Nobelist to GoT actors, second tier Star Wars baddies, or comic book heros.

Loved seeing GILEAD in there, HATEWATCH so current, SCHOOLMARM the opposite (but great stuff). Fun Saturday challenge - thanks Ryan McCarty.

Ferguson 12:24 PM  

Does Rex really do these puzzles in 7 minutes or less, Monday through Wednesday maybe. Even if you gave me the answer sheet I would be hard pressed to fill out the grid in that time. I’m either truly impressed or extremely suspicious. Oh well, at least I enjoyed my 41 minutes figuring this one out.

Ethan Taliesin 12:36 PM  

Damn that SE corner.

Had ASEXUAL and "walk INS" and ELSA and AGAR at first and had to delete them all one by one in an absolutely tedious process of elimination. I even had OATS for stew thickener for a second, though I knew that couldn't be right...or could it?? Thought HONORCODE was going to maybe be HILLELsomethingorother.

Same as Rex. Majority of time was on that one area.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Anon 9:38,
Yeah 200 miles of nothing, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Harrisburg. But yeah, nothing at all.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Ok, so, you have bought stamps in bulk. What are you going to do with them? Well, send a lot of mail, of course. Here is how: Have to use ROLLs, of course.

Cannot do that with PANEs.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  


How cruel. It is #31 in public schools, so I would make it in the top tier.

Stony Brook runs the Brookhaven labs, so may be a bit more prestigious in its field.

Sartresky 1:29 PM  

When you don’t know an answer like “Dario Fo,” there’s two ways of reacting. One is to lash out at the puzzle constructor, the other is to feel a slight pang of embarrassment that your knowledge is lacking. If I were an English professor, and had not heard of one of the most important figures in post-World War II drama, not just “someone” but a Nobel Prize winner, I’d have chosen the latter course. I saw “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” at the National in London and still have a copy on my shelves.

CDilly52 1:42 PM  

Not easy boringness!! It took me over an hour (and I nearly gave in to the seductive lure of The Google), but held out. I have to get to the office but wanted quickly to express my opinion. I’ll enjoy reading what everyone thinks later tonight.

I moved through the connected diagonal pretty steadily from NE to SW, but the NW and SE corners were just brutes! I had to resort to a restorative Bloody Mary to buoy my spirits (with spirits 😊) but after SALT and LITHELY (that I erased twice) nothing else would work, and “Mary” led the way to my consciousness.

I have no idea what HATE WATCH even means or why it connects to the clue. I’m sure someone will explain that.

Mr. McCarty did give us some spectacular clues. 4D, relating baldness to tires is so clever and the wording of the clue just took way too long to lead me there. And I just bought a set! Also liked 44A. Could have worked on the clue to make it a bit more clever and deceptive, but loved the concept. I wanted “Ivan” at 51A, thinking that I was looking for an actual name but the TSAR wasn’t hard to get once I was in the neighborhood.

I am really stressed and tired, for sure. Maybe three months ago, this puzzle would have been easier for me. Have a pleasant Saturday, friends. I’m here in OK, once more on the front page of national papers. WAPO really did a very factual summation of the dismissiveness of younger folks about their own health but even more importantly, the apparent lack of compassion for their fellow citizens as they continue to congregate in large groups, close together and mask-less.

I am off to work. Looking forward to this evening when I get to see what everybody thinks about today. I may have lingering scars from this one, but I. Did. Finish! Peace-out.

Another Anon 1:44 PM  

I metaphorically just bought a 12 pane sheet of stamps on Wednesday.

Joe Dipinto 1:47 PM  

Much more interesting than yesterday's puzzle. EVERETT was the first answer to drop. I didn't think the SE was bad, in fact that was the first area I completed. But Dario Fo actually seems relatively famous to me, even though I've neither seen nor read any of his work. I put him in with only a couple of letters to go on.

5d reminded me of this "huh?" lyric from Sade's "Smooth Operator":
Coast to coast,
L.A. to Chicago...

...and also of "The Boy From New York City":
He's the most (yeah, yeah)
From coast to coast (yeah, yeah)

I'm always grateful for a minimum (or total lack) of conversational snippets; today we got only I CAN DO THAT. Was there anything I didn't like? DOURER is kind of dubious. Also, I can't stand Dr. Oz (the person). Which is not to deny him his right to exist as a crossword answer. That's about all I can come up with. Really good Saturday outing.

@CaptDaveTulsa 10:33 – that's a very cute cover of "The Shoop Shoop Song", I like her!

Here's a socially-conscious "message" song from 1968. It was banned from some radio stations because of the title. Hey, it mentions the NYTimes!

Pamela 1:52 PM  

OMG! And I don’t mean EEK. Or maybe I do- this puzzle was deadly, especially, as for Rex, in the SE, where I finally gave up and googled. Funny how often I’ve agreed with him lately. Today, definitely. DownER for, Neutral before AGENDER- sounds more like a plan with an accent. We gotter foller the agender. Or something. A SLOG, fer sure.

My best laugh today was reading @Frantic Sloth, after which I came straight here.

beam aims north 1:52 PM  

I had totally the opposite experience -- I dropped DARIO FO right in there off the bat. But I had a hell of time in the SW, coming up with the Betty EVERETT and the PEPSI Center. I can imagine what a PANE of stamps is, but I have never heard that term.

RPCV Cameroon 1:58 PM  

Rex often comments on the inclusion of dictators, fascists etc. He missed a golden opportunity with Dr. Oz. Once a reputable cardiothoracic surgeon, he's clearly now little more than a shyster. A study in the British Medical Journal found that more than half of what he recommends have no evidence to support them. And then there is his comment about reopening schools - "we'd only take a 2-3% hit in mortality"

old timer 2:03 PM  

DNF here. But not because of DARIO FO, it was Betty EVERETT that forced me to Google. Once I had that, I had the DOOKy BAVERAGE. I did think there might be an Amoco center, but the cross gave me PEPSI. I buy a PANE or two of Christmas stamps every year, and know the term from long-ago stamp collecting.

Hands up for putting in ERIE before YORK. And I do know YORK, PA, having studied about Gettysburg, and played endless games of Gettysburg, put out by Avalon-Hill long ago. YORK was the town Lee destroyed, or wanted to, which inspired the Northern troops to converge for the battle.

GAVEADAMN is new and surprising. ASKSIN is classic crosswordese. SALT is a very clever clue indeed. Off I go for a margarita!

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

Shyster is used for shady Lawyers, and almost always of a particular ethnicity/religion. I gather you’re not the brightest bulb, but anti Semitic terms shouldn’t fly here. Right mods?

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Good points but they may not be applicable to Rex. He’s a Lea turner in the English department at SUNY Binghamton. Not a professor anywhere.

Unknown 2:27 PM  

Any European knows Dario Fo.

Xcentric 2:44 PM  

Eek, a slog, panic. Rarely an I see that didn’t make me dourer. Needn’t ask me if I gave a damn.

TTrimble 2:47 PM  

@Swagomatic Maybe you figured it out by now, but nothing to do with sheep. It's B AVERAGE. That is, B as a letter grade (which is a 3.0; A is a 4.0). But you're in good company: judging from his write-up, it looks like Rex didn't quite get it either. It happens.

@jberg wondered if not parsing DR.OZ correctly means a DNF -- really admire his honesty and rectitude. FWIW, my own criterion is just getting the right letters and the happy music, so he and Rex would be alright on that score. :-)

Agree with @Z about the (sadly funny) over-the-top and ad hominem shaming of people who happen not to know something, and the attendant self-congratulation. Yesterday a number of solvers (myself included) admitted to not being aware of KITTEN HEELS. Maybe that nice lady who called us "ignorant fools" was trying to be funny, but it didn't read that way to me. Ignorant, sure, I'll go along with that -- in some and in many ways. But then who among us should cast the first stone? ("Fools" btw reminds me of Matthew 5:22. What, you never heard of that?)

okanaganer 3:02 PM  

@anonymous 2:26 pm; I think somehow 'lecturer' came out as 'Lea turner'.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

You seem to have forgotten the beginning of Matthew 5:22. It warns against anger and in that anger calling your brother a fool.
But I haven’t seen anyone pointing out Rex’s ignorance do so in anger. For that reason invoking the Gospel of St. Matthew is utterly inapt.
If I say to someone who improperly invoke The Good News , Raqa, am I wrong?
By the way, casting the first stone is From The Gospel of John. It doesn’t appear in the synoptic gospels.Why you’ve conflated it with Matthew is strange at best. It is no sin to call a fool a fool. Rather, if doe in the spirit of fraternal correction, it is a mercy.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

It did indeed, I figured the gang would figure the auto correct out.
Thanks, though, it’s a good reminder that Sharp is not a professor. It is not a status or rank he’s achieved,

TTrimble 3:43 PM  

Please mentally strike out the parenthetical if it helps you to understand better the main point I was making; you're right that it's very much an aside, and apart from the main point. I was only reminded of it because it was impressed upon me when I was a lad what a harsh word "fool" can be. But I didn't mean to distract or confuse; my apologies.

Z 4:02 PM  

@TTrimble - It seems like only yesterday when I said you wouldn't be the last to question Rex's time. Oh, wait. It was only yesterday.

@RPCV Cameroon - Yep. Him and Dr. Phil are a stain on Oprah's legacy.

On the great PANE debate - I have seen people buy single stamps at the post office, or just enough stamps for the three pieces of mail in their hand, so relative to those people buying a PANE is buying in bulk. I'm not saying this is a good justification for the clue, only that it is good enough for a Saturday where the cluer doesn't want to be too obvious.

@anonymous 2:13 - As far as I know and based on what I could find, the idea that shyster is anti-semitic is a false etymology (that's what Wikipedia says too). Merriam-Webster says it is American slang from 1843 from the German for "shit." Etymology online says the same. It's origin is from scam lawyers - but I think @RPCV Cameroon used it correctly as it can be applied to anyone claiming false professional expertise to scam people.

Regarding YORK again - No really - in CrossWorld (which only barely resembles the real world) Erie PA is 1,000 times larger than every other city in Pennsylvania, for the same reason Yoko Ono is bigger than the Beatles and Leo was the greatest pope ever and Orono, ME is one of the most famous university home in the universe.

Maybe it's just me, but the depth of fremdschämen I'm feeling today is Marianas Trench-like.

burtonkd 4:04 PM  

I see there's 109 comments today already; could be a SLOG, but jae had me going OMG and PFFT on I'm You'res.

GAVEADAMN is strangely relevant today because HBO (and others?) are pulling Gone With The Wind to support BLM. I like seeing Give go to the past tense for Rhett and company.

burtonkd 4:27 PM  

Oh, and my disappointment in myself (tempered be the fact that I'm in good company on this here) that I didn't think of the g in MAGE, what with the related words "magic" and "Magi" along with others (Magus) etc. having to do with "enchantment"

Frantic Sloth 4:29 PM  

@okanaganer 302pm Lea Turner is Lana's sister. She is not an actor, but is outstanding in her field. 😉

TTrimble 5:02 PM  

@Z Yes, I saw that! And with a wise and knowing chuckle, I said to myself, "Yeah, that used to be me, once."

Frantic Sloth 5:04 PM  

All this discussing PANEs vs. rolls or sheets reminds me of a story...
(Please skip if vapidity ain't your thang.)

PANE. Sheet. Roll. Individual. Whatever quantity of stamps you want, wouldn't you just assume you could buy them at a US post office?
I would. And did.
After standing in line for over 30 minutes at a USPS branch in Brooklyn, I went up to the window, asked for some, and was told they were "out of stamps."
It wasn't a holiday or IRS tax deadline or even election season. They were simply out.

This is Serlingesque enough, but the postal worker looked at me like I was crazy for expressing my incredulity. Like it's a known fact that this is a common occurrence at every PO, and I had no business expecting otherwise.
The only "common occurrence" of which I was aware was the minimum 30 minute wait in line.
"Post" a dang sign or somethin'! 🤬

CaryinBoulder 5:05 PM  

Pretty much everything Rex had to say about the SE corner. Once I realized that 36-D was going to end in -Y and not -ED, YORK popped right in, but then I’m originally from Maryland and York was not very far from where I went to college. PPP is such a selective thing and I bridle a bit that I’m supposed to know about an Amtrak line that’s 2000 miles away from where I live, or anyone who’s been on Oprah, or that I’m supposed to have Netflix (GILEAD), all of which had me beating my head against the NE for a long time. I remember playing games of Monopoly as a kid — although I can’t ever remember actually finishing one — but TITLEDEED rings no bells. Title-dee-dee, title-dee-dah. OK, if you say so.

OTOH, Betty Everett is a gimme because I’m a rock’n’roll/R&B geezer and anyway it’s my job. Mr. Mraz I’ve at least heard of but I couldn’t name a single song he’s ever done. But anyway, today is the birthday of a musician/songwriter who eclipses either of them by far: Jerome Felder aka DOC POMUS. And how many of you would’ve known him no matter what the clue?

All in all, slow times for me all week.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

Thanks for the gratuitous vocabulary lesson. But having grown up with realities where both German and Yiddish were spoken, I assure you I know whence shyster. Yes, that’s how to spell it.
I’ll try to keep graciousness in mind, and assume your need to consult Wikipedia confirms your lack of familiarity with the word. I need no such web search. I know all about Shylock etc as bogus etymologies, but etymology is not the issue. Usage is. I assure you those familiar with the word know it for what it is. Come on down to Schermerhorn St. in Brooklyn and explain it to us. Or any courthouse or law office in Metro NY.
I know you’re from Holland, Mi., live in NC now, so as I say, Illchalk your comment up To rank and profound ignorance. But here’s someone who knows better telling you how the word is used. It is a dog whistle. Has been for three generations.
My only real question is why after I posted to this board that it was anti Semitic and therefore offensive, you didn’t take the approach you took a couple of days ago with man eater? Thant day, you had the temerity to call anyone who didn’t adopt a new approach to a word they had heretofore not known was offensive an asshole.
So, what are you?

Lion 5:13 PM  

I'm with you.

Lion 5:15 PM  

So I wasn't the only one!

Lion 5:17 PM  

Am I the only one who saw "non-binary" and thought DECIMAL?

Lion 5:18 PM  


Anonymous 5:27 PM  

I know you are but what am I?

TTrimble 5:29 PM  

I briefly considered "decimal" and also "ternary". (Ultimately what began to break the logjam for me in the SE corner was ANNUAL FEE followed by OKRA, and I think HONOR CODE soon after.)

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

JC 66
That’s astounding! Truly. May I ask whereby grew up, and what your folks did for a living? And yes, it is of course almost always reserved for lawyers.

AdamW 5:35 PM  

For me it was 18 minutes to get the rest and 1 hour of staring at the SE before I got it. So, yep, same as Rex :)

JC66 5:38 PM  


You're obviously responding to comments on your phone or tablet.

The software for for computers is different and only shows your comment so it would be helpful to us computer user if you indicated who's post you're referring to.


JC66 5:43 PM  

@Anon 5:10

FWIW, I'm an old Jew, who, like you, grew up in family that spoke Yiddish (in the Bronx, not German) and I've never known the term shyster to refer only to Jews (any shady lawyer was called a shyster) and therefore, I don't consider it to be anti-Semitic. And, I've only heard it used to refer to lawyers, not any shady character.

Joe Dipinto 5:46 PM  

@F-Slo 5:04 - was this the post office on 7th Ave between 2nd & 3rd Sts.?

Because I went there one time for stamps and the woman told me, "we only have one left." So I said, "ok, I'll take the one sheet then." She said, "No, we only have one stamp." And she dangled a sheet that had nothing on it but a single forlorn US flag stamp in the bottom right corner. I said, "okay, well if that's all you got", but I could barely finish the sentence because I started laughing so hard.

bauskern 5:48 PM  

What a great puzzle! Was the SE corner tough? You betcha. hey folks, it's Saturday.
It's supposed to be tough.
Maybe you don't even finish.
I didn't know the Italian playwright, but all the crosses were there, so no complaints.

JC66 5:50 PM  

@Anon 5:34

I knew you'd asked so I edited snd re-posted. ;-)

Joaquin 5:55 PM  

@Anon (5:10) and JC66 (5:26) - My background is similar to yours, JC66, but I have never heard "shyster" used to describe anything but a Jewish lawyer (or as an insult to any lawyer implying that they are as 'shady' as a Jewish lawyer). It is definitely an anti-Semitic trope used to insult Jews. At least it is in my world.

On a similar note: Considering the outrage when the word BEANER appeared, I am surprised today's NIP didn't cause an uproar. Neither bothered me as the context was not hostile.

jae 5:56 PM  

@TJS - you don’t have to be a long time Rexer to know whether Rex has ever admitted to a DNF. Just go back and reread his write up from this week’s Thursday puzzle. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

Lion 6:05 PM  

I remember "Use Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie."

JC66 6:08 PM  


For me it was like the terms putz or schmuck...equal opportunity.

Live and learn.

Lion 6:11 PM  

Thank you. I am new to this!

RPCV Cameroon 6:29 PM  

Dear anonymous -I’ll ignore your childish and gratuitous insult but here is the definition of shyster from the oxford dictionary “ a person, especially a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.
"an ambulance-chasing shyster". No mention of religion and not unique to lawyers. And really -anonymous? Lastly it’s Cameroon as in the country where I served the US as a Peace Corps Volunteer not Cameron

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

Joaquin has it exactly right.
Shyster is always, always, used as a pejorative for a shady, unctuous chiseler. That archetype is a Jewish lawyer trying to beat you you out of money.
It was so common in the Wasp world of the Acela corridor, that dopes outside the corridors of power misunderstood it. But anyone with half a brain between DC and Boston knows exactly what shyster means. And more important, who it applies to.

albatross shell 6:30 PM  

YORK is on Route 30 the first COASTTOCOAST (paved?) highway in the USA. The Lincoln Highway. The one Woody might have been on when first writing "This Land is Your Land" depending on whose story you believe. YORK has a pretty good Pinball Festival, a very good cigar box guitar festival, and an excellent used bookstore. The Articles of Confederation were drafted there and it was the capital of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. The York Barbell Guy is still there. The movie Route 30 is a wonderfully quirky movie. It's set in Gettysburg which is also on Route 30. See what hardcore back country PA is really like. Rex did not say he did not know YORK the city. He said he did not know YORK the county.

We have had this PhD discussion many times. If Rex is so much a fool to so many of you, maybe you can keep your attacks accurate. Please. His times are certainly possible and probably accurate. We are all on the HONORCODE here. I told you 2 of the 4 longer ones I got with few or no crosses. That is not to say it was easy or that I did not have to look things up to finish. When I finish a Friday or a Saturday with no cheats, I am very likely to YELL.

RPCV Cameroon 6:35 PM  

@ anonymous - if you're going to insult someone ("not the brightest bulb") first, please get your facts straight. From Merriam - Webster: shyster: a person who is professionally unscrupulous especially in the practice of law or politics. So neither anti-Semitic nor unique to lawyers. Second, have the guts to not insult someone anonymously. Also, suggest you read more careully - it's not Cameron, but Cameroon, as in the nation in Africa where I served my country in the Peace Corps. (RPCV = Returned Peace Corps Volunteer).

Frantic Sloth 6:43 PM  

@Joe D 😂 How pathetic! If I recall, that branch is relatively small. The one we used that was closer to us was on 9th St between 5th & 6th. It's a pretty good size for a satellite and has everything postal (including patrons in line). Except stamps.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

I’m with Daniel Patrick Moynihan when it comes to the Peace Corp.
and I was in Africa before you. Almost certainly before you were born. Thanks for the geography lesson though.

Anonymous 6:53 PM  

Albatross shell,
Correct. There’s also a regionally famous statue of an old shoe. More like a giant hollow boot.
Anyway, don’t both3r with Rex. He doesn’t get out much. Even these days. He just declined an invite to a family reunion. H3 is a sad, frightened guy. And a lecturer. Not, as so many here, refer to him, a professor.

Sgt. Mac 7:15 PM  

So Rex tells us the puzzle is easy and that he completed it quickly, though slow for him, of course ! Then he lists all the things that made it actually quite difficult. So what is going on here ? I’ll leave that to you fellow puzzle solvers. Me....? Well, best not to give my professional opinion annoyed with him as I am.

Anne 7:47 PM  

I have been reading this blog for years. How does the first comment get posted?

Whatsername 7:48 PM  

@Frantic: Re your stamp story, I once visited a Kentucky Fried Chicken that had run out of chicken. It was in Charlotte, NC on Memorial Day weekend, also the day of the mega NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. We went by there early evening and were told they had run out of chicken. I’m thinking OK you only have one thing you have keep track of (like stamps in the PO) and knowing it’s gonna be the biggest dang fried chicken day of the whole dang year, you would probably want to be sure you have plenty of it. But sadly, no KFC that night.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

Re 32D, DARIO FO. Sorry to post so late–don’t know if anyone is still reading. I don’t know if we should be too hard on Rex for not knowing Dario Fo. He was a major Italian playwright and intellectual, and I suppose all should know him. I’ve lived in Italy in odd years on sabbaticals and fellowships and knew that everyone knew his work. I’m embarrassed to say that I have not read a word he has written. I’ve seen on television blurbs of his performances, and his wit seemed to depend on a good knowledge of Italian, which I did not have. If I was going to attend one of his performances, I think I would want to hope that it was based on some text, not an extemporaneous reflection, and I would want to read and try to understand that text ahead of time.

I have some vague recollection that his visit to the USA was controversial. For years the US government blocked his visits to the USA because Fo was a member of the Communist Party of Italy, and some old law banned communist visitors. Did his visit lead to the elimination of the law prohibiting such visits (via courts, I imagine)? That’s my recollection–I googled his name and didn’t find and answer, though there probably is one there somewhere.

In the 1980s I was in Italy and got a surprise phone call from a female friend from Trieste. Some place near Perugia was offering extraordinary discounts at a place of “agriturismo,” or agricultural tourism, very popular in Italy (and elsewhere) now but very rare then. We made our way there and the place was called the “Free University of Alcatraz,” run by Jacopo Fo, the son of Dario Fo. It was soon clear that Jacopo Fo was into all sorts of new wave social experiments. His explanation as to why he called his place “Alcatraz,” after the native-American name in California, would fill a PC binder. We were all too polite to ask him about his father, but I think all of us suspected that they two were estranged–Dario being a solid Marxist and Jacopo being a whatever. A big problem for our group was that the highly discounted deals for Alcatraz had been advertised in an Italian counter-cultural magazine widely read my Marxists. It turned out that about everyone I encountered in that very long weekend in Alcatraz was a Marxist. Jacopo Fo had the idea that while we were appreciating nature and organic food, we also should have our minds stimulated. So after our first evening there, he suggested that we propose a topic for a “dibattito,” a debate. Immediately one of the Marxists suggested “dialectical materialism.” Jacopo could hardly say no, and the next day, during the dibattito, Jacopo’s idiotic suggestions about cooperative enterprises were subjected to a withering Marxist critique. I joined in the critique, and I still have Italian Marxist friends based on this experience to this day.

And how depressing it is, in my daily NY Times, to read their anti-Marxist screeds blanketed by PC nonsense. MSNBC and CNN are no better. I’ll stop here–for those still reading, thanks for your attention.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

JC66 9:02 PM  


Isn't it time you went blue?

What? 9:04 PM  

I think that was Brylcreme.

What? 9:05 PM  

Some Day it will cease to amaze you.

Lorelei Lee 9:23 PM  

@Poggius, That's an absolutely fascinating story. Wow. I've been thinking about dialectical materialism within all the upheaval of late and how poverty is the root of all evil.

Dialectical materialism seems like a given to me at this point and an off camera capitalist would have to admit it. But it seems to work along side the fact that money is the real opiate of the masses.

Thanks. You turned around the blog experience today on the most reviled answer. I'm blown away.

albatross shell 9:39 PM  

@anon 653pm
Yes there are a lot of partial remains of roadside attractions scattered along route 30 in Pennsylvania. I do not know about other states.

When I was a student a friend, me, and my dog staged a 3 being sit-in at the Faculty Meeting. They discussed and made decisions that affected students with no student knowledge or input. Student power, baby. Afterwards a professor friend told me he thought it was a big deal and that we had gotten a full professor to back down. I did not even know what a full professor meant. I went and looked at the Faculty listings and saw who was a full, associate, assistant professor or lecturer. The whole faculty power structure, all became clear. A structure I did not even know existed. A revelation. But not one I took seriously. And still do not. Some people are better than others. Titles are a minor part of that equation.

Joe Dipinto 10:04 PM  

@Anne 7:47 – the very first comment, written by Anonymous, was laboriously etched into a stone tablet and delivered to Rex at the summit of Mt. Sinai, c. 2007 a.d. This became the established procedure. Commentary stones would be brought to Rex and then hauled to a nearby amphitheater where users could congregate to view them. It continued in that fashion for number of years...

Flash forward to today: currently, when Rex puts up the day's entry (usually just after midnight, but sometimes later), there is a directive at the bottom of the page saying "Post a comment". Click on that and the standard dialog box appears. You can publish a comment immediately, but the first comments may not actually appear on the site for several hours, depending, I guess, on how quickly moderators can review them. (The comment will be still be stamped with the time you submitted it for publication.)

At the time, you don't really know if you are posting the very first comment or not. Someone may have gotten in there seconds before you did.

Anonymous 10:29 PM  

Yo, Dario Fo
Rowing on the Po
Not going slow
Opposing Silvio
Pro the working Joe
Got the big Kudo
(Found out in an auto)
Opposed by U. Eco
Failed in Milano
Sometimes stooped too low
Loki Italiano

Birchbark 10:50 PM  

@Anon/Poggius (8:55) -- Glad I checked back in. Reading your tale reminded me a little of Hawthorne's "Blithedale Romance." (And I second @JC66(9:02).)

Kathy D. 5:56 AM  

I knew Dario Fo. The U.S. government wouldn't let him in to attend a conference or receive an award as apparently he was on a banned list awhile ago. He is a famous writer -- or is to me.

I did not know Jason M Raz at all. I guessed at Everett, although I remember and like her song.

This puzzle was a meh. Not exciting, but OK. Not as much fun as a Saturday puzzle can be.

Maybe we need more women constructors since they seem to zinging puzzles out in different publications.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

So, Rex, a nit to pick: "Easy (except for SE corner, which destroyed me) (90% done in about 4 minutes ... 3+ minutes to get the rest)." You're the king, so of course you can say whatever you want, but...can you really call the puzzle easy if one part of it was not easy? The puzzle was not easy, because it contained a hard part. I know you have a reputation to uphold and all, but some of these claims end up sounding a little too defensive!

EdTech@mjbha 11:22 AM  

Lisa Simpson sang about Dario Fo.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

I was stuck in the southeast and thought I would dnf. I kept wanting INSURANCE for 'Deterrent to getting a credit card.' Then that damn Discover Card commercial came on that I have been seeing every three minutes for the last few weeks. How about no? Uh, huh, no way. Does Discover Card have an ANNUAL FEE? Boom.

kitshef 11:14 PM  

Give me a real clue for "DAY" and I can knock a couple of minutes off the solve. How can you cross a name that .0.5% of people will know with that nonsense?

Unknown 2:27 PM  

Wrong on the average at most places: 4.0 A
3.0 B
2.0 C
Thus the phrase, "He has a four point"

Anonymous 11:25 PM  

Am I the last guy to finish? Again? It’s Wednesday night. It took me an hour. I drove past York Pa twice last weekend. (Saturday and Sunday). (Is there a Dork County?) Passed the York Barbell dude both ways. I have an interesting insight that might just put any insomniacs over the edge. I used to work with a General Surgeon who was African American, from Florida, and about to retire. He was also a big dude; muscly! He told me he was the original model for that York Barbel effigy you see from the road. Except the effigy is white! Maybe he lied? Maybe I remembered it wrong? Maybe another injustice against persons of color (can you say that? Please correct me if Wrong. ) Anyway I think of him every time I drive that way, after the Amish quilts and sex shops on route 15.

thefogman 11:02 AM  

I had almost the same experience as Rex - but it took me about ten times as long to complete. There was way too much mean stuff designed to frustrate the solver. Not an easy or enjoyable experience, in my opinion.

Burma Shave 12:41 PM  


yet GAVEADAMN to be LITHELY tender:
she ASKS, "NOCAMERAS, the make me DOURER,
but ICANDO what's on YER AGENDER."


rondo 12:50 PM  

While speeding thru this puz I had only the final letter Z on 31a and even before reading the clue said out loud, " That's gotta be JASONMRAZ." Gimme (and BTW, JASONMRAZ is "current"). Can't believe how easy this puz was for a SaturDAY. OFL woulda GAVEADAMN if it had been by a lady constructor.

The four corners GAVE me a KISS.

PAM or ANNA or JANE, take your pick.

Easier than yesterDAY, NEEDNT slam a good puz like this.

leftcoaster 3:00 PM  

Saturday puzzles are made to be especially tough. Fine. Today, the SE seemed made especially to kill, and it had some accomplices. May I rest in peace.

Jokr22 3:49 PM  

REALLY wanted to MAGA for 36 across if only to see Rex’s reaction!

Diana, LIW 9:35 PM  

I suppose everyone already knows that AAACELL and TRIPLEA have the same number of letters.

Jason Who????

Happy Birthday to me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 10:24 PM  


Happy Birthday Lady Di.

PurityofEssence 6:00 PM  

Not a particular fan of the Shortz era NYTXW, but I agree with those who enjoyed Friday’s puzzle, which was well-clued and enjoyable. I took longer that OFLs 7.5 minutes but I finished it without error or help (who would really want to do xws with outside help?) yes I Dariofo which I assumed was D’ariofo even though I had to grimace filling in mage, asksin, and honorcode, This was everything Friday’s puzzle wasn’t, poorly clued and unenjoyable in the final analysis. Why did i grind through it? Because its a xwd puzzle and I am honor bound to finish - unless there is a totally wrong Nattick that I leave blank to show my disdain

Unknown 11:36 AM  

Can anyone explain a mystery to us novice puzzle solvers regarding puzzle #0924. We easily determined that 63 across was letters of the alphbet spelled out. But how did "Kay" become "Beerbarrel", "Elle"relate to "Drumstick", and what does "Pea" have to do with "CribbageMarker"???

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